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Hardware

Raspberry Pi's latest competitor RockPro64 brings more power plus AI processor

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Linux
Hardware

Pine64 has released a budget-friendly single-board computer with the high-powered Rockchip RK3399 system on chip (SoC).

Available from around $60, the RockPro64 board comes in two flavors, either with the hexa-core RK3399 SoC or the RK3399Pro, Rockchip's first "artificial-intelligence processor". Unveiled at CES 2018, it combines a CPU, GPU, and neural-network processing unit (NPU).

As noted by CNX-Software, a number of RK3999-based boards have been released in the past week but, priced at around $200 each, they've been aimed at business customers rather than home developers.

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Devices: Mycroft Mark 2, Android at HMD

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

Linux Devices: LimeSDR Mini, ML350 Fanless Computer, Librem 5

Filed under
Linux
Hardware
  • LimeSDR Mini gains Raspberry Pi ready Grove Starter Kit

    Lime Microsystems has launched a Raspberry Pi compatible “Grove Starter Kit” option for its LimeSDR Mini radio hacker board with a GrovePi+ board, 15 Grove sensor and actuator modules, dual antennas for 433/868/915MHz bands, a base plate, and cables.

    Lime Microsystems has added to its successful LimeSDR Mini crowdfunding campaign on Crowd Supply with a $249 Grove Starter Kit designed to work with a Raspberry Pi. The news came shortly after Lime unveiled a DVB transmitter prototype project that combines the open source LimeSDR Mini Software Defined Radio (SDR) board with a Raspberry Pi Zero.

  • Ubuntu-ready embedded PC has optional CEC, 4G, and dual mSATA

    Logic Supply’s fanless, Apollo Lake based “ML350G-10” embedded PC offers 7x USB ports, up to 2x GbE, up to 2TB mSATA via 2x slots, optional WiFi/BT or LTE, and 2x DisplayPorts with optional CEC.

    Most of Logic Supply’s embedded PCs have run on Intel Core chips, but the Vermont-based company has produced a few Linux-ready, Intel Atom-based models including the Bay Trail Celeron based ML100G-10 and quad- or octa-core Avoton Atom C2xxx driven ML600G-10. Now, the company has launched an “ML350 Fanless Computer” series starting with the Apollo Lake-based ML350G-10.

  • Purism Plans to Bring Convergence to Its PureOS Linux Phone and Laptops

    Purism, the computer technology company that sells Linux-powered laptops, is currently working hard on their first Linux phone, Librem 5, for which the company ran a successful crowdfunding campaign last year.

    Last week, Purism published their first report on the upcoming privacy-focused Linux smartphone since the crowdfunding campaign ended, saying they plan to use the i.MX8 ARM processor for the device and the next-generation Wayland display server for the UI (User Interface), which is still in the design phase as they spent last two months establishing a design team.

    Now that their design team is in place and ready to work on the most powerful Linux phone ever, Purism shared their plans on attempting to bring convergence across all devices running the PureOS Linux operating system, including the upcoming Librem 5 smartphone and any of Purism's Librem Linux laptops.

Open Hardware/3-D Printing

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Hardware
OSS
  • Meltdown And Spectre Processor Vulnerabilities: Is It Time To Revive Open Source Alternative?

    The beginning of the year 2018 brought new challenges in the form of Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities in most of the processor architectures.  In layman terms, both of these vulnerabilities allow hackers to steal sensitive data like passwords.  This vulnerability is applicable to Intel, AMD, and ARM. This means the problem is universal as it affects almost all devices ranging from embedded devices, smartphones, desktops, and servers to supercomputers.

  • When the canary breaks the coal mine

    Nobody likes it when kernels don't work and even less so when they are broken on a Friday afternoon. Yet that's what happened last Friday. This was particularly unsettling because at -rc8, the kernel is expected to be rock solid. An early reboot is particularly unsettling. Fortunately, the issue was at least bisected to a commit in the x86 tree. The bad commit changed code for an AMD specific feature but oddly the reboot was seen on non-AMD processors too.

    It's easy to take debug logs for granted when you can get them. The kernel nominally has the ability for an 'early' printk but that still requires setup. If your kernel crashes before that, you need to start looking at other debug options (and your life choices). This was unfortunately one of those crashes. Standard x86 laptops don't have a nice JTAG interface for hardware assisted debugging. Debugging this particular crash was not particularly feasible beyond changing code and seeing if it booted.

  • DIY Open-Source PantoProbe Precision Probe

    Electronics enthusiasts, hobbyists and makers looking for a handy tool to help you troubleshoot their latest project, may be interested in an open source PantoProb created by Kurt Schaefer. As you can see from the image above the open source probe requires a few 3D printed parts as well as some off-the-shelf hardware which is easily sourced. Kurt has also provided full instructions and a Github repo with all the necessary files to make your very own 3D printed testing probe. Check out the video below to learn more.

  • What the Apple 3D Printing Patents Mean for Our Industry

    Recently Apple has been granted a patent for a color 3D printing idea whereby the printed object is first made and then colored in afterwards. This idea is a straightforward one; using it one could print an object using FDM for example and then later color it with an inkjet print head. This method would play to both technologies’ strengths with FDM making for strong objects that are very dimensionally accurate but often suffer from poor surface quality. By having a separate print head then color in and, more importantly perhaps, strengthen and smooth over the object as well as add things such as conductivity, the resulting object would look nice as well. This could be a potential breakthrough in expanding 3D printing.

Devices: Debugging Tools, TP-Link, Raspberry Pi and Android

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Android
Linux
Hardware
  • Debugging Tools

    That’s three strands (red, white, black) from a USB-to-serial converter, soldered on to a 3-pole screw-tightened connector. Clamped into that are the serial lines (red, green and blue) which were originally crimped straight to the lines. After a few months of use, the crimping failed and the red cable (RX) broke off.

    So I had to fix it, and in the process decided to make it more sturdy, more ugly, but also easier to use.

  • TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi Plug with Energy Monitoring Review

    Opening up the box reveals both plugs sitting in a plastic tray. A quick start guide, tech support contact information, and a copy of the GNU General Public License were found on top of the plugs. Following the quick start guide proved to be very straightforward.

  • Reading Buttons from a Raspberry Pi

    When you attach hardware buttons to a Raspberry Pi's GPIO pin, reading the button's value at any given instant is easy with GPIO.input(). But what if you want to watch for button changes? And how do you do that from a GUI program where the main loop is buried in some library?

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  • Rooting Android Just Isn’t Worth It Anymore

    Since Android is based on Linux and uses a Linux kernel, “rooting” effectively means allowing access to root permissions in Linux. It’s really that simple—these permissions aren’t granted to normal users and apps, so you have to do some special work to gain them.

  • What’s the Difference Between Android One and Android Go?

    In 2014, Google announced a lineup of low-cost, low-spec phones called Android One. In 2017, they announced Android Go, specifically designed for low-cost, low-spec phones. So…what’s the difference?

PC desktop build, Intel, spectre issues etc.

Filed under
Hardware
Security

Apart from the initial system bought, most of my systems when being changed were in the INR 20-25k/- budget including all and any accessories I bought later.

The only real expensive parts I purchased have been external hdd ( 1 TB WD passport) and then a Viewsonic 17″ LCD which together sent me back by around INR 10k/- but both seem to give me adequate performance (both have outlived the warranty years) with the monitor being used almost 24×7 over 6 years or so, of course over GNU/Linux specifically Debian. Both have been extremely well value for the money.

As I had been exposed to both the motherboards I had been following those and other motherboards as well. What was and has been interesting to observe what Asus did later was to focus more on the high-end gaming market while Gigabyte continued to dilute it energy both in the mid and high-end motherboards.

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Raspberry Pi HAT connects up to three Pmod modules at once

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Linux
Hardware

Digilent and RS Components have launched a $15, Python supported “Pmod HAT Adapter” for the Raspberry Pi that can connect up to three Digilent Pmod peripheral modules at a time while also extending the 40-pin adapter.

Digilent has joined with distributor RS Components to co-launch a $15 DesignSpark Raspberry Pi Pmod HAT Adapter board that brings Digilent’s Pmod peripheral boards to the Raspberry Pi. The 65 x 56.5mm HAT compliant board offers three 2×6-pin Pmod ports with support for I2C, SPI, UART and GPIO interfaces. The Raspberry Pi’s 40-pin adapter is extended to make full use of the SBC’s interfaces.

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First Impressions: Asus Tinkerboard and Docker

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Linux
Hardware

The board's standard OS is TinkerOS - a Linux variant of Debian 9. I've also read that Android is available but that doesn't interest us here. While Android may use forms of containerisation under the hood it doesn't mix with Docker containers.

Rather than trying TinkerOS I flashed Armbian's release of Ubuntu 16.04.03. The stable build on the download page contains a full desktop, but if you want to run the board headless (like I do) then you can find a smaller image on the "other downloads" link.

I initially used the stable image but had to swap to the nightly build due to a missing kernel module for Kubernetes networking. Having looked this up on Google I found the nightly build contained the fix to turn on the missing module.

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RF-enabled Raspberry Pi add-on brings Google Assistant to gizmos, speakers, and robots

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Linux
Hardware

JOY-iT and Elector have launched a $42 “Talking Pi” RPi add-on that enables Google Home/AIY compatible voice activation of home automation devices linked to the Pi’s GPIO, and includes a mic board, PWM servo controls, and support for a 433MHz SRD radio.

Elektor has begun selling a $42, open source voice control add-on board that is programmable via the Google Assistant SDK. Built by Germany based JOY-iT, and marketed by Conrad Business Supplies, the RF-enabled Talking Pi enables voice control of home automation equipment such as smart lights, power sockets, and other gizmos via addressable extensions to the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO.

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Librem 5 Phone Progress Report

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware
  • Librem 5 Phone Progress Report – The First of Many More to Come!

    First, let me apologize for the silence. It was not because we went into hibernation for the winter, but because we were so busy in the initial preparation and planning of a totally new product while orienting an entirely new development team. Since we are more settled into place now, we want to change this pattern of silence and provide regular updates. Purism will be giving weekly news update posts every Tuesday, rotating between progress on phone development from a technology viewpoint (the hardware, kernel, OS, etc.) and an art of design viewpoint (UI/UX from GNOME/GTK to KDE/Plasma). To kickoff this new update process, this post will discus the technological progress of the Librem 5 since November of 2017.

  • Purism Eyeing The i.MX8M For The Librem 5 Smartphone, Issues First Status Update

    If you have been curious about the state of Purism's Librem 5 smartphone project since its successful crowdfunding last year and expedited plans to begin shipping this Linux smartphone in early 2019, the company has issued their first status update.

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More in Tux Machines

Introducing the potential new Ubuntu Studio Council

Back in 2016, Set Hallström was elected as the new Team Lead for Ubuntu Studio, just in time for the 16.04 Xenial Long Term Support (LTS) release. It was intended that Ubuntu Studio would be able to utilise Set’s leadership skills at least up until the next LTS release in April 2018. Unfortunately, as happens occasionally in the world of volunteer work, Set’s personal circumstances changed and he is no longer able to devote as much time to Ubuntu Studio as he would like. Therefore, an IRC meeting was held between interested Ubuntu Studio contributors on 21st May 2017 to agree on how to fill the void. We decided to follow the lead of Xubuntu and create a Council to take care of Ubuntu Studio, rather than continuing to place the burden of leadership on the shoulder of one particular person. Unfortunately, although the result was an agreement to form the first Ubuntu Studio Council from the meeting participants, we all got busy and the council was never set up. Read more

today's leftovers

  • My Experience with MailSpring on Linux
    On the Linux Desktop, there are quite a few choices for email applications. Each of these has their own pros and cons which should be weighed depending on one’s needs. Some clients will have MS Exchange support. Others do not. In general, because email is reasonably close to free (and yes, we can thank Hotmail for that) it has been a difficult place to make money. Without a cash flow to encourage developers, development has trickled at best.
  • Useful FFMPEG Commands for Managing Audio and Video Files
  • Set Up A Python Django Development Environment on Debian 9 Stretch Linux
  • How To Run A Command For A Specific Time In Linux
  • Kubuntu 17.10 Guide for Newbie Part 7
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  • Why Oppo and Vivo are losing steam in Chinese smartphone market
    China’s smartphone market has seen intense competition over the past few years with four local brands capturing more than 60 percent of sales in 2017. Huawei Technologies, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi Technology recorded strong shipment growth on a year-on-year basis. But some market experts warned that Oppo and Vivo may see the growth of their shipments slow this year as users become more discriminating.
  • iPhones Blamed for More than 1,600 Accidental 911 Calls Since October
    The new Emergency SOS feature released by Apple for the iPhone is the one to blame for no less than 1,600 false calls to 911 since October, according to dispatchers. And surprisingly, emergency teams in Elk Grove and Sacramento County in California say they receive at least 20 such 911 calls every day from what appears to be an Apple service center. While it’s not exactly clear why the iPhones that are probably brought in for repairs end up dialing 911, dispatchers told CBS that the false calls were first noticed in the fall of the last year. Apple launched new iPhones in September 2017 and they went on sale later the same month and in November, but it’s not clear if these new devices are in any way related to the increasing number of accidental calls to 911.
  • Game Studio Found To Install Malware DRM On Customers' Machines, Defends Itself, Then Apologizes
    The thin line that exists between entertainment industry DRM software and plain malware has been pointed out both recently and in the past. There are many layers to this onion, ranging from Sony's rootkit fiasco, to performance hits on machines thanks to DRM installed by video games, up to and including the insane idea that copyright holders ought to be able to use malware payloads to "hack back" against accused infringers. What is different in more recent times is the public awareness regarding DRM, computer security, and an overall fear of malware. This is a natural kind of progression, as the public becomes more connected and reliant on computer systems and the internet, they likewise become more concerned about those systems. That may likely explain the swift public backlash to a small game-modding studio seemingly installing something akin to malware in every installation of its software, whether from a legitimate purchase or piracy.

Server: Benchmarks, IBM and Red Hat

  • 36-Way Comparison Of Amazon EC2 / Google Compute Engine / Microsoft Azure Cloud Instances vs. Intel/AMD CPUs
    Earlier this week I delivered a number of benchmarks comparing Amazon EC2 instances to bare metal Intel/AMD systems. Due to interest from that, here is a larger selection of cloud instance types from the leading public clouds of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Google Compute Engine.
  • IBM's Phil Estes on the Turbulent Waters of Container History
    Phil Estes painted a different picture of container history at Open Source 101 in Raleigh last weekend, speaking from the perspective of someone who had a front row seat. To hear him tell it, this rise and success is a story filled with intrigue, and enough drama to keep a daytime soap opera going for a season or two.
  • Red Hat CSA Mike Bursell on 'managed degradation' and open data
    As part of Red Hat's CTO office chief security architect Mike Bursell has to be informed of security threats past, present and yet to come – as many as 10 years into the future. The open source company has access to a wealth of customers in verticals including health, finance, defence, the public sector and more. So how do these insights inform the company's understanding of the future threat landscape?
  • Red Hat Offers New Decision Management Tech Platform
    Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) has released a platform that will work to support information technology applications and streamline the deployment of rules-based tools in efforts to automate processes for business decision management, ExecutiveBiz reported Thursday.

Vulkan Anniversary and Generic FBDEV Emulation Continues To Be Worked On For DRM Drivers

  • Vulkan Turns Two Years Old, What Do You Hope For Next?
    This last week marked two years since the debut of Vulkan 1.0, you can see our our original launch article. My overworked memory missed realizing it by a few days, but it's been a pretty miraculous two years for this high-performance graphics and compute API.
  • Generic FBDEV Emulation Continues To Be Worked On For DRM Drivers
    Noralf Trønnes has spent the past few months working on generic FBDEV emulation for Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) drivers and this week he volleyed his third revision of these patches, which now includes a new in-kernel API along with some clients like a bootsplash system, VT console, and fbdev implementation.